It’s a glorious day in this part of the world today — the sun has made a robust reappearance and a strong breeze is blowing away the clouds that dumped a month’s worth of rain on Sydneytown in two long grey days. Kids are heading back to school, and daily life seems like it’s on the verge of resuming its usual reassuring rhythm.
But there’s something tugging at my conscience, and I believe that I must speak out and tell whoever is prepared to listen that I stand for mercy.
I stand for mercy for the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. I do not wish to go over the ins and outs of Sukumaran’s and Chan’s case, save to say that I readily acknowledge their guilt and I strongly believe that they should serve their time for the crimes they committed. I am not attempting to excuse their conduct, nor to endorse drug trafficking in any form.
That said, I do not believe in the death penalty.
Regardless of a person’s crimes, however horrific, I do not believe that any human being has the right to take the life of another. I didn’t believe it as a ten year old, hearing the Barlow and Chambers case being reported on the radio, and I don’t believe it now.
What I do believe is that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”, as stated in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am proud to live in a country that is not only a signatory to that Declaration, but was also one of eight nations involved in its drafting.
I recognise that speaking out and making a fuss is, in all honesty, probably not going to achieve a great deal, particularly given that Indonesia has already executed six other individuals (five of them foreign nationals) this year, all of whom had been convicted of drugs charges.
But I can only hope — even if it be but a fool’s hope — that by lending my voice to the growing chorus of other voices in Australia and around the world, that Sukumaran and Chan just might be allowed to live out the rest of their days in an Indonesian prison rather than being transferred to Nusa Kambangan island, woken in the middle of the night, taken to a remote location, and shot dead by a firing squad.
And so I say: I stand for mercy.